Weekly News from the Diocese

Diocese of Monmouth Esgobaeth Mynwy

Friday Update from Bishop Cherry

Dear Friends,

Church buildings

It is good to know that there is a glimmer of light appearing at the end of the ‘Zoom tunnel’ with at least some churches now being allowed to open their buildings for private prayer. This will, of course, only happen if the necessary health and safety requirements can be put in place and the Archdeacons will be working with clergy over the coming weeks to determine where this is going to be realistically possible. This may be a small step, but it is a sign of hope that it may not be too long now before we can gather again for worship and fellowship in our church buildings. For this we give thanks.


One of the things that the bishops discussed in our recent meeting is how we, as a Church in Wales, can become carbon neutral in the next 10-20 years. Climate change is acknowledged to be the most significant challenge facing our world with the prospect of catastrophic and irrepairable damage being done to our planet if global warming exceeds just 1.5 degrees; even threatening the future of humanity. The Governing Body has encouraged each diocese to become an Eco Diocese in line with the Arocha programme which can be found at https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/denominational-awards/eco-diocese/ Parishes too can join the scheme and work towards bronze, silver and gold medals. If anyone is interested in forming a working group to look at realistic ways in which we can respond at individual, ministry area and diocesan level, please let me know. Four in six of the Church in Wales dioceses have registered. It would be wonderful if we became the 5th!

Evangelism bid

It is with not a little disappointment that we have reluctantly decided to put our Evangelism bid on hold. We have been strongly encouraged to develop a diocesan-wide vision and strategy first which a renewed Evangelism bid can then resource, at least in part. Whilst this makes a lot of sense, it understandably feels like another kick-back to those who put together the current bid. I would like to thank Archdeacon Sue particularly for the extraordinary amount of time and energy that she put into the bid and to all those who worked with her and who formed part of the significant consultation process. The money is still there for us to bid for. So, we must now make sure that we work together as quickly as possible to develop and craft a diocesan vision that we can all own and which will shape our life and work over the coming 5-10 years. Plans for how we will go about developing a vision are being drawn up and will be shared as soon as possible.

The greatest gift

Our collect this coming Sunday reminds us that however fervent and well-meaning our planning and activity, they are worth nothing unless they flow out of our love for God and God’s love for us. Please pray with me that  God will pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, that it may shape and infuse everything we are and everything we do.
Live-streamed Services & Reflections: 
Join this Sunday’s Eucharist from Bishopstow at 11am here.
 And join a Sunday evening Reading & Homily, Preacher – Ven Jonathan Williams, at 5pm here.
 Catch up on Bishop Cherry’s Refugee Week Reflection here.
 Churches can re-open for private prayer

Churches in Wales can re-open for private prayer from Monday as the Welsh Government’s eases lockdown restrictions.

Churches which are able to meet strict safety measures can re-open for individuals and household groups to pray. However, all churches will remain closed for services, including weddings, funerals and baptisms.

The Church in Wales has worked with the Welsh Government on
safety measures churches will have to implement in order to re-open. These include maintaining a two-metre distance between people and ensuring sufficient hygiene and cleaning protocols. Churches will also have to complete a COVID risk assessment before re-opening.

As a result not all churches will be able to re-open at this time. Precise opening hours for private prayer will vary depending on each church’s capacity to open safely.  A significant factor will be the availability of volunteers to monitor social distancing and ensure churches are kept clean.

While welcoming the news that churches can now re-open for private prayer, the Church’s bishops say public safety must be the first consideration.

In a statement, they say, “A cautious approach to re-opening, based firmly on Welsh Government guidance, is essential.  What has been announced is the giving of permission. There is no requirement, from Welsh Government or the Bishops of the Church in Wales, to re-open at this time.  

“Whilst we all look forward to the day that all our churches can open safely, we urge local safely within the guidelines.  Match your opening arrangements to your capacity to address necessary safety measures. Our primary concern must be the health and wellbeing of our clergy, staff, volunteers and visitors.”

The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, added, “We are grateful for the permission which has been given to open churches for private prayer where it is both safe and practical to do so. This will bring spiritual comfort and support to many people, particularly in these tense and anxious days. While we are still unable to hold services, it is a hopeful sign that we are coming though this pandemic.

“We are very grateful to our clergy and volunteers who will now be working hard to ensure the churches that can open can do so safely by meeting our robust criteria.”

While church buildings remain closed for services, people can continue to join in worship and fellowship online in the many services now being broadcast. Digital church – from live-streamed eucharists on Facebook to prayer meetings on Zoom – is available across Wales. Check out your local church’s social media pages for information or find a service through the Church in Wales website at https://bit.ly/3dEVySx

For the full guidance and safety criteria, see https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/If you have any questions please get in contact with your Archdeacon.

Gwent Valleys
Sue Pinnington
01495 449946

Ambrose Mason
01291 672152

Jonathan Williams
01633 215206Diocesan Re-opening Church Buildings Grant SchemeWe are pleased to be able to offer a grant to assist with the costs associated with re-opening church buildings.
Please click here to view the application form with more information.Spotlight

Taking a closer look at things with views from across the diocese.

This week looks at Gift Direct

The Gift Direct scheme makes receiving monthly donations and claiming gift aid on them completely hassle free.
See what Angela, treasurer of St Augustine’s Rumney, thinks below and find out more about the scheme and how donors can sign up here.‘We’ve been using gift direct for a number of years, and from small beginnings we now have over 50 of our congregation giving this way.
It is so easy, the combined giving amounts are paid directly to our account around the 15th monthly and the gift aid is paid separately to our account monthly too. As treasurer, I receive two advices each month from the RB, one listing all the individuals and their donation, and one with the gift aid amount.
So no envelopes to open and count every week and and a much smaller Inland Revenue claim – it’s all done for us. Wonderful!
It also means we get a regular income to our account whether the giver is in church or not and it has been an absolute life saver while church has been closed’.
Fundraising Support During Covid-19 and Beyond – Webinar from Ecclesiastical
Whatever the level of fundraising experience or knowledge within your church, this webinar will help you to build confidence and identify key steps you can take to begin or build your fundraising.

Date: Wednesday 1 July, 3pm
Length: 45 minutes in total: 30 minute presentation followed by 15 minutes Q&A
Speaker: Caroline Underwood OBE, CEO Philanthropy Company, in collaboration with Ecclesiastical
No advance preparation is needed; however, you can submit your questions in advance if you wish.

The webinar will provide practical tips and guidance to help you to start or reinvigorate your fundraising straight away:

•    With social distancing in place, how can I fundraise?
•    What can we do to keep our donors involved and up to date?
•    How can we replace funds usually raised before social distancing? (e.g. from collections, room hire and events)

Register online here.NLCF’s Emerging Futures Fund – Short Application Window
The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) has launched a £1 million Emerging Futures Fund to support communities as they start to make the transition from the impact of the immediate coronavirus crisis, towards recovery and renewal.The funding is intended to help organisations to look at how things are changing, what is needed in the transition and what is possible in the future.
There’s a total of £1 million available for this fund over three to six months and grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 will be made.
The application deadline is the 25th of June at 5pm.Find out more here.
Next month Bishop Cherry will be taking part in a Q&A, if you’d like to ask her a question please email a video to debragoddard@churchinwales.org.uk
Questions can be on any topic, silly or serious!#goodnewsworthsharing

Rev Leah Philbrick explains what Upper Islwyn have been up to,

‘With the dedication of our amazing volunteer team, very generous donations from local churches, residents and organisations, and the help of local council support workers we have been able to keep the Rhymney Valley Foodbank running and since April have fed 1375 people – more than double what we were doing this time last year.
While The Living Room is closed as a coffee shop we still wanted to find a way of sharing smiles and keeping in touch so our Living Room bakers have launched a delivery service called Cake Connections enabling people to send cakes/welshcakes with messages of encouragement to others as well as to bless our local support workers and those in our local medical centre and nursing homes.’
 This Saturday Cyncoed Ministry Area is having a celebration of “Dad culture” from wacky ties to jokes, DIY to dancing. A friendly competition with some special prizes.

They would love to have you along, head to https://www.facebook.com/cyncoedma/ for moreAdd your story to #goodnewsworthsharing
Please send anything you’ve been doing to debragoddard@churchinwales.org.uk or share on social media with #goodnewsworthsharingChildren, Families & Young Peoples Resources
 Please keep all our schools in your prayers as they prepare for the next stage

Cyncoed Ministry Area – Online Sunday School
Be Still
And join the live Sunday school session on Facebook here at 2pm on Sunday.
St Teilos High School are providing weekly services for young people, you can catch up with previous services and watch this week’s here.

Charles Williams Church in Wales Primary School have lots of child friendly services available here.
Mainly Music
For this session we’re grateful, we’re thankful, we’re joyful. Grab a scarf and remember your grown-up. 

Care for the Family
Care for the Family’s Kitchen Table Project is supporting churches and their work with families, watch their video here.
And find more of their resources here
Scripture Union
Scripture Union have a variety of resources available for children and young people, including daily craft and prayer activities and mental health resources. Check them out here.There are lots more amazing resources for children and families available on our website here.For a downloadable and printable version of this email please click here.

You can find the one-stop-shop for all you need to know and this week’s updates here.